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Latest Featured Reports | Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Congresswoman Sets Impeachment Deadline for Federal Judge Mark Fuller
ALSO: Court unseals divorce docs from first marriage, Fuller attorney dismisses abuse allegations as 'rhetorical questions'...
SCOTUS ALLOWS TEXAS' DISCRIMINATORY GOP PHOTO ID LAW TO USED IN MIDTERMS
Despite uncontested findings striking down the law as a racially-motivated, 'unconstitutional poll tax', it will be implemented this year...
'Dead Heat' and 'Dirty Tricks': The Nightmare Scenario
Maddow warns: 'With this many top of ticket races tied, turnout will be everything...Now we watch for the ways that people will try to stop voters from turning out or from having their votes counted, by hook or by crook'...
Judge Fuller's Attorney Says Wife Beating Thing No Big Deal; 911 AUDIO and Gov. Don Siegelman Disagree
Standalone video of 911 call; First comment on case by imprisoned former AL Gov.; MORE...
Emergency Appeals Filed at SCOTUS to Restore Voting Rights to 600,000 in TX
GOP Photo ID law, which lower court found intentionally discriminatory, is different from recent cases before High Court, say plaintiffs...
'Green News Report' 10/16/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Ryan backs away (sort of) from climate change denial; NatGas isn't a bridge to lower-emissions; PLUS: Did Lockheed-Martin really invent a compact nuclear fusion reactor?...
Previous GNRs: 10/14/14 - 10/9/14 - Archives...
Bloomberg on BRAD BLOG on Judge Richard Posner on Photo ID Voting Laws...
'By the sounds of it, the floor that supported voter-ID laws has just given way'...
'BradCast': Special Coverage of WI, TX, AR Photo ID Rulings
Trouble keeping up with the on-again/off-again court rulings on GOP voter suppression laws? Brad tries to make sense of it all for ya...
WTF?!: FL Gov. Rick Scott Refuses To Appear at Debate With Gov. Charlie Crist
Watch the video. They're calling it 'FanGate'. We're just calling it Florida...
Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down State GOP's Photo ID Voting Law
Court determines law, passed over Dem Governor's veto, violates explicit right to vote in state Constitution...
5th Circuit Appeals Panel Restores Texas GOP's 'Discriminatory' Photo ID Law
While not contesting lower court's finding of law's unconstitutionality, judges cite SCOTUS precedent on last minute voting changes...
'Green News Report' 10/14/14
  w/ Brad & Desi
Coal wins U.S. Senate debate in KY!; Pentagon: climate change threat to NatSec; Wind power cheapest source of energy; PLUS: September 2014 was hottest ever...
Previous GNRs: 10/9/14 - 10/7/14 - Archives...
Strange But True: Minority Ruled in WI Photo ID Case
A bizarre sidebar to the federal court's ruling in WI, thanks to a quirk in the law and Dems' inability to fill a vacant seat on the 7th Circuit...
Repub Judge Who Approved Nation's 1st Photo ID Law in 2008 Writes Devastating Dissent Against Them
Reagan-appointed Richard Posner pens best case ever against Photo ID voting restrictions...
Liar, Liar: Father and Son Reps Duncan Hunter Just Make Shit Up
Son claims ISIS agents nabbed at Mexican border! Father, as BRAD BLOG reported in 2007, said non-citizens 'rounded up' and 'herded' to vote in CA!...
SCOTUS BLOCKS WI PHOTO ID VOTING LAW
Bad news for GOP and Gov. Scott Walker, good news for voters, as U.S. Supreme Court restores demoracy at last minute to the Badger State...
FEDERAL JUDGE STRIKES DOWN TX GOP'S 'UNCONSTITUTIONAL, DISCRIMINATORY' PHOTO ID VOTING LAW
U.S. District Court judge permanently enjoins GOP law, finds it discriminates, amounts to a poll tax...
ACLU on 'Photo ID Needed to Fly' Canard
They nailed federal Judge Easterbrook's lies about WI's Photo ID voting restriction much more succinctly than we did: 'Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, and wrong again'...
'Green News Report' 10/9/14
McConnell & other GOP candidates dodge and retreat from climate denial; U.S. auto fleet achieves record fuel efficiency; PLUS: 'Clean Coal' in Canada?...
Non-KPFK 'BradCast': Special Election Coverage/Primal Scream Edition
This year's elections may be decided by the courts even before Election Day: A BradCast special...
SCOTUS Overturns 4th Circ, Allows NC to End Same-Day Registration, Counting of 'Wrong Precinct' Ballots
100s already disenfranchised; Nation's worst suppression law to have full trial next year...
GAO: Republican Photo ID Voting Restriction Laws Lowered Turnout in KS, TN
Dems tout non-partisan government report to underscore need to fix Voting Rights Act, but there's more to story they aren't mentioning...
Federal Court Tosses VA's Ridiculously Gerrymandered Congressional Map
Ruling by GW Bush appointee is too late for 2014 election, but redrawn map could result in 2 to 3 new Dem U.S. House seats in 2016...
'Green News Report' 10/7/14
LED inventors win Nobel Prize; EPA regs slashed cancer risk 65% in CA; L.A. builds all-electric highway; PLUS: SCOTUS upholds (GW Bush's) EPA ozone regulations...
7th Circuit Offers Blatant FALSEHOODS in Ruling on WI Photo ID Voting Law
No, Photo ID is NOT required for boarding an airplane, no matter how many times wingnuts make the claim to influence a SCOTUS ruling...
NATIONWIDE STUDY FINDS ALMOST NO VOTER FRAUD
Just 10 cases of in-person impersonation in all 50 states since 2000...
VIDEO: 'Rise of the Tea Bags'
Brad interviews American patriots...
'Democracy's Gold Standard'
Hand-marked, hand-counted ballots...
Brad's Upcoming Appearances
(All times listed as PACIFIC TIME unless noted)
Media Appearance Archives...
'Special Coverage' Archives
GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal 2012...
VA GOP VOTER REG FRAUDSTER OFF HOOK
Felony charges dropped against VA Republican caught trashing voter registrations before last year's election. Did GOP AG, Prosecutor conflicts of interest play role?...

Criminal GOP Voter Registration Fraud Probe Expanding in VA
State investigators widening criminal probe of man arrested destroying registration forms, said now looking at violations of law by Nathan Sproul's RNC-hired firm...

DOJ PROBE SOUGHT AFTER VA ARREST
Arrest of RNC/Sproul man caught destroying registration forms brings official calls for wider criminal probe from compromised VA AG Cuccinelli and U.S. AG Holder...

Arrest in VA: GOP Voter Reg Scandal Widens
'RNC official' charged on 13 counts, for allegely trashing voter registration forms in a dumpster, worked for Romney consultant, 'fired' GOP operative Nathan Sproul...

ALL TOGETHER: ROVE, SPROUL, KOCHS, RNC
His Super-PAC, his voter registration (fraud) firm & their 'Americans for Prosperity' are all based out of same top RNC legal office in Virginia...

LATimes: RNC's 'Fired' Sproul Working for Repubs in 'as Many as 30 States'
So much for the RNC's 'zero tolerance' policy, as discredited Republican registration fraud operative still hiring for dozens of GOP 'Get Out The Vote' campaigns...

'Fired' Sproul Group 'Cloned', Still Working for Republicans in At Least 10 States
The other companies of Romney's GOP operative Nathan Sproul, at center of Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, still at it; Congressional Dems seek answers...

FINALLY: FOX ON GOP REG FRAUD SCANDAL
The belated and begrudging coverage by Fox' Eric Shawn includes two different video reports featuring an interview with The BRAD BLOG's Brad Friedman...

COLORADO FOLLOWS FLORIDA WITH GOP CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
Repub Sec. of State Gessler ignores expanding GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal, rants about evidence-free 'Dem Voter Fraud' at Tea Party event...

CRIMINAL PROBE LAUNCHED INTO GOP VOTER REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL IN FL
FL Dept. of Law Enforcement confirms 'enough evidence to warrant full-blown investigation'; Election officials told fraudulent forms 'may become evidence in court'...

Brad Breaks PA Photo ID & GOP Registration Fraud Scandal News on Hartmann TV
Another visit on Thom Hartmann's Big Picture with new news on several developing Election Integrity stories...

CAUGHT ON TAPE: COORDINATED NATIONWIDE GOP VOTER REG SCAM
The GOP Voter Registration Fraud Scandal reveals insidious nationwide registration scheme to keep Obama supporters from even registering to vote...

CRIMINAL ELECTION FRAUD COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST GOP 'FRAUD' FIRM
Scandal spreads to 11 FL counties, other states; RNC, Romney try to contain damage, split from GOP operative...

RICK SCOTT GETS ROLLED IN GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD SCANDAL
Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL) sends blistering letter to Gov. Rick Scott (R) demanding bi-partisan reg fraud probe in FL; Slams 'shocking and hypocritical' silence, lack of action...

VIDEO: Brad Breaks GOP Reg Fraud Scandal on Hartmann TV
Breaking coverage as the RNC fires their Romney-tied voter registration firm, Strategic Allied Consulting...

RNC FIRES NATIONAL VOTER REGISTRATION FIRM FOR FRAUD
After FL & NC GOP fire Romney-tied group, RNC does same; Dead people found reg'd as new voters; RNC paid firm over $3m over 2 months in 5 battleground states...

EXCLUSIVE: Intvw w/ FL Official Who First Discovered GOP Reg Fraud
After fraudulent registration forms from Romney-tied GOP firm found in Palm Beach, Election Supe says state's 'fraud'-obsessed top election official failed to return call...

GOP REGISTRATION FRAUD FOUND IN FL
State GOP fires Romney-tied registration firm after fraudulent forms found in Palm Beach; Firm hired 'at request of RNC' in FL, NC, VA, NV & CO...
The Secret Koch Brothers Tapes...


TONIGHT: Malloy checks in from D.C. protests, Jesse LaGreca from 'Occupy Wall Street', Dr. Roger Johnston from Argonne National Labs & much more!
LIVE! 9p-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), Call-in#: 877-520-1150
By Brad Friedman on 10/5/2011 2:42pm PT  

[Now UPDATED with tonight's audio archives below!]

The revolution may not be televised...but it will be radio-active as we #OccupyYOURPublicAirwaves!

I'll be guest-hosting the nationally syndicated Mike Malloy Show tonight, tomorrow and Friday as Mike heads to D.C. to emcee the kick off of the October2011.org demonstration and we'll be

As ever, we'll be BradCasting LIVE 9pm-Mid ET (6p-9p PT), coast-to-coast and around the uprising globe from the studios of L.A.'s KTLK am1150 in beautiful downtown Burbank. Join us by tuning in, chatting in, Tweeting in and calling in! Our LIVE room will be up and rolling right here at The BRAD BLOG, as usual, while we are on the air. Please stop by and join the fun while you're listening! (The Chat Room will open at the bottom of this item a few minutes before airtime, see down below, just above "Comments" section.)

Scheduled tonight (so far):

The Mike Malloy Show is nationally syndicated on air affiliates across the country and also on SiriusXM Ch. 127. You may also listen online to the free LIVE audio stream at affiliate GREEN 960 in San Francisco or at WhiteRose Society or via MikeMalloy.com.

* * *

POST-SHOW UPDATE: The uprising begins. A helluva show tonight. You can check it all out below in the commercial-free audio archives (along with the chat room archives). Enjoy!...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 10/4/2011 10:45am PT  

Let's see. #OccupyWallStreet is an ever-growing group of American citizens actually doing something unprecedented, while facing impossible odds and putting their lives on the line in hopes of positively changing the course of the nation. NJ Gov. Chris Christie isn't.

No wonder he gets so much more national media attention.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 10/2/2011 7:47pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Perhaps the only positive thing one can say about GOP voter suppression is that it is relentless.

In 2008 the ME Legislature killed a Republican-backed bill designed to prohibit out-of-state college students from voting in the communities in which their schools were located. The state's Democratic Attorney General Steven Rowe said at the time, that the proposal was unconstitutional under the 1979 ruling in Symm vs. United States, establishing the right of college students to treat their dorms as their residence for voting purposes.

This year, on July 25th, the clueless ME GOP Chairman Charlie Webster asked Maine's Republican Sec. of State Charles E. Summers, Jr. to investigate 206 out-of-state college students whom he believed committed "voter fraud" because they registered and voted in the Pine Tree State.

Summers, after a two month investigation, was forced to admit that every one of the students was lawfully registered to vote in ME; that there was no evidence that any one of them committed voter fraud.

But why let a little thing like the absence of evidence of any crime get in the way of dissuading college students from exercising their right to vote? That's exactly what Summers decided to do...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 10/2/2011 1:32pm PT  


"The best way to enhance freedom in other lands is to demonstrate here that our democratic system is worthy of emulation." - President Jimmy Carter
(Inaugural Address, 1/20/1977)

Oh, well. It was a nice idea at the time.

Nonetheless, happy 87th birthday (yesterday), Mr. President!

[Hat-tip @WestWingReport.]

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By Brad Friedman on 10/1/2011 1:13pm PT  

[Toon hat-tip to Philadelphia Inquirer's Matt Katz on the Twitters. Headline hat-tip to RS Gary, also on the Twitters.]

Related-ish at The BRAD BLOG, in case you missed it recently:
EXCLUSIVE: Christie's Secret Keynote at the Koch Brothers' Secret Seminar

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By Brad Friedman on 9/30/2011 5:26pm PT  

Now THIS is what democracy looks like. Some really great news via Ian Millhiser at ThinkProgress...

Earlier this year, Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) signed a sweeping bill intended to make it harder to vote in his states’ elections. Kasich’s anti-voter law drastically cuts back on early voting and erects new barriers for absentee and even for election day voters. Today, however, opponents of Kasich’s war on voting will submit over 300,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s office — well over the 231,000 signatures necessary to suspend the law until it can be challenged in a referendum in November of 2012. If enough of the signatures are deemed valid, the practical effect of this petition will be that Kasich’s law will not be in effect during the 2012 presidential elections when Republicans hoped the law would weaken President Obama’s efforts to turn out early voters who support his reelection.

Ohio's new law would have overturned many of the improvements instituted in the Buckeye State by former Sec. of State Jennifer Brunner (D) after she took over from the corrupt J. Kenneth Blackwell (R) and his abhorrent, um, administration of the 2004 Presidential election there.

ThinkProgress' Tanya Somanader summarizes some of the new law's appalling restrictions on voting like this...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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LATE UPDATE: Now even Fox 'News' paying attention to Diebold hack!...
By Brad Friedman on 9/29/2011 5:02pm PT  

MSNBC's Rachel Maddow offered a nice hat-tip to us Tuesday night for our Secret Koch Tapes exclusive at Mother Jones on NJ Gov. Chris Christie (the complete segment, much longer than the clip below, is here)...


And RT's Thom Hartmann did similar for our Tuesday Salon exclusive on Argonne National Lab's Remote Control Diebold Hack (he covered it several times, with nice hat-tips by name, on both his radio and TV shows this week. The following was his latest and most extensive analysis, from last night)...

By the way, there's been quite a bit of new news coverage on that new e-voting hack over the past 24 hours, since I last discussed it. You can check out some of it here. And still, there has been absolutely no response to the news from Dominion Voting, the current owners of what had been Diebold Election Systems, Inc., or from ES&S, which also services many of Diebold's old contracts. The voting machine companies used to get right out in front of these things, to lie about them as soon as possible. Not this time, for some reason. Perhaps more on that later.

Also, our friend Jeanne "AKMuckraker" Devon of the great Alaska blog "Mudflats" offers an amusing take on the Diebold hack, after she noticed one-time "Tea Party" Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate Joe Miller (whose very appropriate concerns about Diebold voting systems in his state we vigorously covered during his election contest last November) is currently quoting and linking favorably to our Salon article from the front page of his website today.

Oh...and one more note! While we've been working on the above stories (and more to come) for quite a while, we haven't had time to do a proper fundraiser here for months and months and months. Hope to do one in the near future. But, until then, your financial support is always greatly appreciate and very much needed! Please consider leaving an online donation here, or using the snail-mail address in the light-blue box in our right sidebar if you can afford to do either. Thank you!!!

* * *

UPDATE 9/30/11: Well, waddaya know? Even Fox "News" suddenly gives a damn! "Researchers Hack Voting Machine for $26".

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Johnston says similar hack could work on paper-ballot op-scan systems as well as touch-screens...
By Brad Friedman on 9/28/2011 8:34pm PT  

This afternoon on my Pacifica Radio show on KPFK here in Los Angeles (and up and down the West Coast) I interviewed Dr. Roger Johnston of Argonne National Lab's Vulnerability Assessment Team on their $26 "Man-in-the-Middle" attack on a Diebold touch-screen voting system as I reported yesterday in my exclusive at Salon (and here at The BRAD BLOG.)

While yesterday's reports included information on the team's previous, similar-ish hack of a Sequoia touch-screen system, and the fact they feel they could do the same with most other e-voting systems, among the interesting new points raised during our discussion on KPFK today is that Johnston believes they could use a similar method to manipulate the vote count on a paper-ballot based optical-scan system as well!

So, in other words, the low-rent attack Argonne has demonstrated --- requiring no knowledge of the voting system software, $10 to $26 in off-the-shelf computer parts, and little more than an 8th grade computer lab education --- could also be implemented not just on touch-screen e-voting systems, with or without a so-called "paper trail," but also on the paper ballot op-scanners used to count the majority of votes that will be cast in the U.S. in next year's Presidential election.

(And if you're now wondering: "Well, what the hell should we be using to tabulate our elections?!" I'll refer you to this "Democracy's Gold Standard" special comment of mine, as taken from a recent Mike Malloy Show which I posted a few months ago.)

Here's my interview with Dr. Johnston today...

Download MP3 or listen online here [appx 28 mins]..

P.S. There's been a fair bit of follow-up coverage of my Salon article yesterday, here's a few of the better reports I've seen, at The Register, ComputerWorld, CNET and MSNBC.com.

Note: Of the media outlets listed above, only CNET got the ownership of Diebold voting equipment correct in their reports. Both The Register and ComputerWorld incorrectly report that ES&S now has ownership of what had been Diebold Election Systems, Inc. In fact, while ES&S, the world's largest e-voting company, did purchase the company (that some refer to as DESI, but I do not, for personal reasons) in late 2009, the DoJ ordered them to sell it off due to anti-trust concerns. It was then purchased by Canadian firm Dominion Voting, though ES&S was allowed to retain a fair number of the contracts from Diebold jurisdictions that preferred to stay with ES&S. So while Dominion officially owns what was Diebold's election division, ES&S still maintains and services many Diebold machines as well. Dominion also took over Sequoia --- and lied about it --- shortly thereafter.

* * *
Please support The BRAD BLOG's fiercely independent, award-winning coverage of your electoral system, as available from no other media outlet in the nation, with a donation to help us keep going (Snail mail, more options here). If you like, we'll send you some great, award-winning election integrity documentary films in return! Details right here...

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Hack team leader: 'Can do similar things on pretty much every e-voting machine'...
By Brad Friedman on 9/27/2011 10:17am PT  

[UPDATE 9/28/11: I interviewed Argonne National Lab's Roger Johnston on my Pacific Radio show on KPFK today. In the interview, Johnston concedes that it's not only touch-screen systems of the type described below which are vulnerable to this newly developed hack, but that paper-ballot based optical-scan systems can likely be manipulated by the same techniques. My interview with Johnson is now posted here. - BF]

* * *

The Vulnerability Assessment Team (VAT) at the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois has managed to hack a Diebold Accuvote touch-screen voting machine in what I describe at my exclusive today at Salon as perhaps "one of the most disturbing e-voting machine hacks to date."

As noted by the computer scientists and security experts at Argonne's VAT, largely all that's needed to accomplish this hack is about $26 and an 8th grade science education.

"This is a national security issue," VAT team leader Dr. Roger Johnston told me, echoing what I've been reporting other computer scientists and security experts telling me for years. "It should really be handled by the Department of Homeland Security."

Johnston should know. While the VAT folks have been dabbling in the security (or lack thereof) of e-voting systems in their spare time of late, most of the work they do is related to issues like nuclear safeguards and non-proliferation.

What makes this hack so troubling --- and different from those which have come before it --- is that it doesn't require any actual changes to, or even knowledge of, the voting system software or its memory card programming. It's not a cyberattack. It's a "Man-in-the-middle" attack where a tiny, $10.50 piece of electronics is inserted into the system between the voter and the main circuit board of the voting system allowing for complete control over the touch-screen system and the entire voting process along with it.

Add an optional $15 radio frequency remote control device, and votes can be changed, without the knowledge of the voter, from up to half a mile away. Without the remote, the attack can be turned on and off at certain times, or by other triggers. The voter would have no idea that their votes have been changed after they've already approved them as "correct" on the various confirmation screens, and even on the so-called "paper-trail" (on e-voting machines which offer them --- though VAT has learned how to manipulate those as well, see photo at right.)

The inserted chip can later be removed after the election without there being any way to ever know that someone had completely manipulated the system. But since election officials rarely --- if ever --- examine the inside of their voting machines, it doesn't much matter, in truth.

"The level of sophistication it took to develop the circuit board" used in the attack "was that of basically an 8th grade science shop," says Argonne's John Warner. "Anybody with an electronics workbench could put this together."

The team, he says, had no knowledge of the voting machine's computer circuit diagram or owner's manual when they devised the attack. Moreover, VAT team leader Roger Johnston told me they believe they "can do similar things on pretty much every electronic voting machine." Indeed, in 2009, with little fanfare, they were able to carry out a similar manipulation of a Seqouia AVC Advantage e-voting system (as used across most of the state of New Jersey, for example). You can see that video demo here.

The team at Argonne has shared their demo video of the new Diebold Accuvote hack exclusively with The BRAD BLOG, as posted below. But please go check out the full details over at Salon (where we've embedded the video as well). The full details are chilling --- particularly as about 20% to 30% of U.S. voters are still set to use Diebold touch-screen systems, and others very similar to it, across the nation in the 2012 election cycle, no matter how many years The BRAD BLOG has been desperately trying to illustrate that these systems are simply antithetical to American democracy.

Among the states where voters will use these systems on Election Day in 2012, according to VerifiedVoting.org: Georgia, Maryland, Utah, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Indiana, Missouri, Texas and many more.

Almost five years ago to the day, I broke the story of Princeton's landmark Diebold Virus Hack in another exclusive for Salon. So while I'm delighted to break the news of this new type of hack over there today, it's somewhat frustrating that it's even necessary at this point, as we head into yet another Presidential election cycle having changed so little despite all that we've learned. Nonetheless, please go check out my story over there today.

* * *

Beyond that, the video demonstration itself from Argonne, of the remote hack of a Diebold Accuvote touch-screen system follows below...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/26/2011 12:02pm PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

Since taking power in statehouses across the nation in 2010, Republicans have been feverishly implementing new restrictions on democracy in advance of the 2012 Presidential election. A number of those laws, clearly --- and often deceptively --- designed to carve out blatant partisan advantage for the GOP next year, were examined during a recent hearing by the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights. The video of the hearing on "New State Voting Laws: Barriers to the Ballot" can be viewed here.

This is the second of our two-part analysis of the hearing.

In Part 1, we covered the subcommittee's examination of new polling place photo ID restrictions designed to make it more difficult for lawfully registered (and disproportionately Democratic-leaning) voters to cast their ballots at the precincts on Election Day. That issue --- which included some devastating cross-examination of long-time GOP "voter fraud" front-man Hans Von Spakovsky by Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) --- was the first of three categories, as defined by committee chair Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) of new state voting laws covered in the hearings. All of the new voter suppression laws have been recently rammed through Republican-majority statehouses across the country.

In this concluding piece, we will cover the two additional categories examined: laws erecting barriers to the ability of individuals and non-partisan, non-governmental organizations to offer convenient registration for new voters and laws imposing significant reductions on early voting periods. Both are likely to restrict the number of voters able to cast their lawful vote in 2012 and, again, each is likely to disproportionately affect Democratic-leaning voters.

Finally, We'll also touch upon the status of legal challenges to these new laws by democracy proponents and challenges to the Voting Rights Act itself by operatives on the Right. Moreover, it's impossible to look at any of these issues without drawing inferences about what the combination of new laws in all three categories means, particularly in light of the fact that the models for these new laws were drafted by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 9/26/2011 11:18am PT  

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 9/23/2011 5:41pm PT  

There are two important late Friday announcements from the newly revived, post-Bush Voting Unit at U.S. Dept. of Justice's Civil Rights Division this afternoon. In both cases, they've raised serious concerns about discrimination by Republican Presidential front-runner Rick Perry's Texas against Hispanic and African-American voters.

Given the Lone Star State's history of discrimination against racial minorities, new laws and regulations which relate to elections and voting must be pre-cleared by the Dept. of Justice before they can be put into effect, as per Section 5 of the federal Voting Rights Act.

In one finding, the DoJ sees purposeful discrimination against minorities in the state's redistricting plans [PDF] for apportioning both new statehouse districts, as well as four new U.S. House seats being added in the wake of the 2010 census. The new seats are being added due to an increase in the TX population, thanks in no small part, ironically enough, to huge growth in the state's Hispanic population. The DoJ finds the proposed statehouse plan violates Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, stating that it "was adopted, at least in part, for the purpose of diminishing the ability of citizens of the United States, on account of race, color, or membership in a language minority group, to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the Texas House of Representatives."

The TX plan for the U.S. House didn't fare much better (see below), with similar findings that minorities are likely to see a "retrogressive effect" in their ability "to elect their preferred candidates of choice to the United States House of Representatives" under Perry's approved scheme.

Moreover, in a letter that echoes questions recently sent by the DoJ to the state of South Carolina about their new polling place Photo ID restrictions, as The BRAD BLOG detailed earlier this month, the DoJ has a series of questions concerning Texas' new, very similar restrictions. As the law mirrors the one in South Carolina --- and in many of the other states where the GOP has been able to ram through similar voter suppression bills over the past year --- many of the questions from the DoJ to TX also ask about the their plans for notification about the law, and issuance of free IDs to the more than 600,000 otherwise-legally qualified voters who don't currently own state-issued ID that would meet the strict new requirements to cast a vote at the polls on Election Day.

In TX, the DoJ voting unit is curious about how many of those residents who don't have such IDs also happen to have Spanish surnames...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/23/2011 7:35am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

A nearly two-hour hearing in the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights earlier this month (full video available here), carefully examined the partisan, multi-state effort by the billionaire Koch brothers-funded, Paul Weyrich co-founded American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC)-fueled GOP effort to enact new state voting laws across the country.

The coordinated, nationwide GOP voter suppression effort was aptly described by Judith Browne Dianis, a civil rights litigator at The Advancement Project, and a witness in the second three-member panel, as "the largest legislative effort to roll back voting rights since the post-Reconstruction era."

"Our country has not seen such widespread attempts to disenfranchise voters as we have seen this year in more than a century. Inclusive democracy is under attack," she testified, while Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) described the "brazen" GOP attempts to undermine the right to vote.

Subcommittee Chair and Senate Majority Whip, Dick Durbin (D-IL) broke the new state voting laws into three major categories, and the discussions of each are worth covering here over two different articles. In Part 1 here, we'll cover the first category: Polling place Photo ID laws restricting the ability of lawfully registered voters to cast their ballot on Election Day. The hearing produced several remarkable face-offs, including between Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) and long-time GOP "voter fraud" front man Hans von Spakovsky (cue James Bond villain music), as detailed below.

In Part 2, we will cover the discussion of the other two categories at the hearing --- draconian new restrictions on voter registration, and laws which significantly reduce early voting periods --- plus a very troubling event that "reactionaries" have planned for the 2012 election, according to Dianis' testimony [UPDATE: Part 2 is now posted here]...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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By Brad Friedman on 9/21/2011 12:53pm PT  

Short of the serious concerns about election integrity in her race that Ernie Canning highlighted over the weekend, if Massachusetts' Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren continues to be as effective as she is in this video over the next year, she blows her opponent, Republican Sen. Scott Brown (the favored candidate of Wall Street, receiving more money from hedge funds and venture capital firms than any other Senator), out of the water next November...

Other Dems running in 2012 would be wise to watch, and learn, from what Warren --- a political novice and, so far, original --- is doing here.

As WaPo's Greg Sargent (who pointed us towards this video) notes:

Republicans are planning to paint Warren as a liberal Harvard elitist — they’re already referring to her as “Professor Warren” — because they believe that she will have trouble winning over the kind of blue collar whites from places like South Boston that helped power Scott Brown’s upset victory.

But as this video shows, Warren is very good at making the case for progressive economics in simple, down-to-earth terms. Despite her professorial background, she sounds like she’s telling a story. She came across as unapologetic and authorative [sic], without a hint of the sort of defensiveness you hear so often from other Democrats when they talk about issues involving taxation and economic fairness. This is exactly what national Dems like about Warren.

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By Ernest A. Canning on 9/18/2011 11:11am PT  

Guest blogged by Ernest A. Canning

"One of the great questions of our time is whether the American people, through Congress, will control the greed, recklessness and illegal behavior on Wall Street, or whether Wall Street will continue to wreak havoc on our economy and the lives of working families."
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) 9/16/11

Sanders' question is indeed one of the "great" ones for our time. But, as Yoda said, "there is another."

If there was ever a candidate perfectly suited to expose the lie that is to be found in the pseudo-populism of the mega-billionaire Koch brothers funded and controlled 'Tea Party' that helped Scott Brown (R-MA) secure a reported upset win in the 2010 special election to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by the death of the late Edward "Ted" Kennedy (D-MA), it would be Elizabeth Warren, a Democrat.

The brilliant, straight-talking Harvard Law Professor and special adviser appointed by President Barack Obama to oversee the development of a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), whose interview with Michael Moore for Capitalism: A Love Story (see video below) established her to be the same thorn in the side of Wall Street's financial "products" that Ralph Nader was to GM when he exposed the Corvair in Unsafe at Any Speed, announced last week that she is a 2012 candidate for the U.S. Senate seat now occupied by a GOP Senator who has turned to Wall Street, in a big way, for financial support.

There is little question but that Warren's brilliance, eloquence, and sincerity will come into play during the ensuing campaign. But while Warren plants her flag in the fight for oversight, transparency, and accountability for our financial system, will she (and other candidates) come to understand the importance of oversight, transparency, and accountability for our electoral system before it's too late? Before yet another election --- like the one which brought Brown to the Senate in the first place --- is decided under a cloud of unverified results reported by easily-hacked, oft-failed, optical-scan voting systems such as those made by Diebold and programmed by a company with a criminal background in the great commonwealth of Massachusetts?...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---

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